Virginia Senators Hope to Pass Legislation That Would Fix Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund

Nov 29, 2019

With Congress mired in impeachment, can anything get done in Washington?

The Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund was set up with a serious flaw: it named the victims. The IRS has rules against that to prevent funds from benefiting specific people instead of causes. That means contributions to the fund are not tax deductible.

Victims' names cover part of a flower vase at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach.
Credit AP Photo / Patrick Semansky

Senator Mark Warner is hoping his bill fixing that will pass before the end of the calendar year in a few weeks.  

“It’s unfortunate that the fund was not set up correctly in stage one," he says. "But we now have this corrective legislation, and my hope is that we can get it through the House and get it through the Senate on a unanimous consent basis and make sure by the end of the year this becomes law.”

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says this should be the kind of thing that pierces the gridlock in Washington. 

“It does speak to the fact that government can focus on some things, at least, during this time of gridlock," Farnsworth says. "Of course we’ll have to see whether this actually becomes law before we say that Congress is accomplishing much in the way of legislation this year.”

Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Norfolk has a separate version of the bill over in the House.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.